A 2018 decision to fly a rainbow flag ended up costing the City of Langley $62,000 in legal fees (Langley Advance Times file)

A 2018 decision to fly a rainbow flag ended up costing the City of Langley $62,000 in legal fees (Langley Advance Times file)

Human rights win in rainbow flag fight cost B.C. city $62,000

“Lengthy and involved” process provoked by complaint

A B.C. city’s victory in a human rights complaint over a rainbow flag cost just over $62,000.

After the flag flew at Langley City hall to mark Pride Week, conservative and anti-SOGI Langley activist Kari Simpson went to the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal in 2018 to argue the banner “panders to sex activism, bully tactics, child abuse and special rights for certain groups.”

In response, the City hired the law firm of Norton Rose Fulbright to defend the matter at a B.C. Human Rights Tribunal hearing.

A report to council filed on Sept. 30 by Chief Administrative Officer Francis Cheung described the process as “lengthy and involved.”

“While the City was successful in defending itself against the complaint, the effort and time required by the City’s solicitor to prepare and submit evidence was considerable, resulting in legal costs totalling $62,058.05,” Cheung wrote.

READ ALSO: Pride Flag flies over Langley City

Unlike a court case, where a successful applicant can apply to have the other party or parties pay a portion of their legal costs, at a Humans Right hearing costs are less likely to be awarded, with the Human Rights Code saying they can be ordered when a party “has engaged in improper conduct during the course of the complaint.”

When the City rejected Simpson’s complaint about the Pride flag, she asked to fly what she called the “Canadian Christian Flag” on what she termed the “National Day of Blessing.”

Simpson identified herself as the “head organizer for the Langley Christian Flag committee and the organizer for the National Day of Blessings” when she launched her complaint to the tribunal.

READ ALSO: Human rights complaint over Langley Pride flag tossed out

“According to publicly available information filed by the City, the City says that Ms. Simpson appears to be the creator of the ‘National Day of Blessings’ and the ‘Canadian Christian flag’ and Oct. 1, 2018 appears to be the first time that Ms. Simpson celebrated this day and flag,” the tribunal’s judgment said. “Ms. Simpson does not dispute this.”

Simpson held a rally outside City hall at which the flag was displayed, but it was not raised on a City flagpole.

In April, the tribunal dismissed Simpson’s complaint.

There was no evidence of any danger to her life, or of how the City might have incited “contempt and hatred for Christians” as she claimed, the ruling stated.

It went on to point out the long history of discrimination against LGBTQ+ people.

“Pride celebrations help to counteract the historical discrimination committed against LGBTQ+ communities and help to bring those communities from a position of disadvantage to a more equal standing with heterosexual and cisgendered individuals who have historically enjoyed societal acceptance,” the ruling said. “The act of flying the Rainbow Flag also serves a similar purpose.”



dan.ferguson@langleyadvancetimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Langley CityPolitics

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Motorists breaking travel rules can be fined $230 for failing to follow instructions or $575 if the reason for travel violates the essential travel health order, at this Highway 3 check area near Manning Park. Photo RCMP
RCMP begin checking drivers on BC highways

Four check points are set up Thursday May 6 around the province

The Aquilini Investment Group has agreed to a proposed contract of five years to run the Abbotsford Centre. (File photo)
Proposal to run Abbotsford Centre offered to Canucks ownership group

Planned five-year contract to cost city $750K annually, starting Jan. 1, 2022

JANGO the police dog helped track down a suspect on Luckakuck Way in Chilliwack. (RCMP photo)
Alleged thief in Chilliwack can’t fool the nose of JANGO the police dog

An Edmonton man who allegedly broke into a storage container on Luckakuck Way was arrested

Chilliwack RCMP nab two alleged thieves targeting bait vehicle

A man from Port Coquitlam and a woman from Delta were stopped and arrested at Eagle Landing Parkway

The AHL Board of Governors has approved the Vancouver Canucks decision to move their franchise to Abbotsford. (File photo)
AHL approves Canucks’ franchise relocation to Abbotsford

Board of Governors approves move, season set to start on Oct. 15

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Surrey RCMP is investigating after a serious three-vehicle crash at the intersection of King George Boulevard and 128th Street Thursday afternoon (May 6, 2021). (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
VIDEO: Serious crash in Surrey sends 1 to hospital

Surrey RCMP say one of the drivers fled on foot, but was later found at an area hospital

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

John Paul Fraser, executive director of the BC Salmon Farmers Association. (Screen shot)
Salmon farmers warn Surrey jobs on line as feds end Discovery Islands operations

344 full-time jobs at risk in Surrey and 1,189 B.C.-wide

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C.’s first electric school bus making the rounds in Victoria suburbs

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

Victoria police say the photo they circulated of an alleged cat thief was actually a woman taking her own cat to the vet. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Photo of suspected cat thief released by Victoria police actually just woman with her pet

Police learned the she didn’t steal Penelope the cat, and was actually taking her cat to the vet

Most Read